Pink, Piku, Queen, Tanu Weds Manu, Sairat and closer home, Pelli Choopulu. These are six of the most recent movies that have thrown “formula” into the bin.
They didn’t care to have a fan-powered Khan, backup dancers or a publicity storm. Instead, they simply lightened the showbiz load and heightened the impact of the script. Which is why Pink, which beautifully drives home “no means no” on a thrifty budget of Rs15 crore, has now smashed through the Rs 40 crore mark.
Piku was four people in a car and it took home over Rs 100 crore. There was a Khan in it (Irrfan) but not the sort. Whether it was the character of Deepika’s from Piku, where she takes care of her single (cranky) father, Rani from Queen, whose wedding is called off but that doesn’t hold her back, or the characters from Pelli Choopulu, who discover and follow their passion — audiences can relate with these characters and the storyline. Even if these movies don’t get a good first day opening, it soon picks up with word of mouth.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, director of Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and the recent Mirzya, says, “Audiences need to be entertained for the amount of money they spend on watching movies in theatres. They have become intelligent, so if you give them a good story with something different, it keeps them hooked throughout.”
However, Rakesh Roshan feels that a lot of factors contribute to the success of a movie. “Whichever film has a good story, performances and has everything in place will surely do well. The success of the film depends on its totality. A film needs a story which will go deep down into the hearts of the audiences,” says Rakesh.
Director Anil Sharma feels that while marketing plays a vital role in the success of a film, its content is what ultimately makes it a success. He says, “Marketing strategies are given more importance than the content to ensure that the producers make maximum returns. But I think that marketing is like soda water... the fizz will die away soon and people will start asking for real cinema. That’s how it is in America — content rules supreme. So it can change here in India too.”
However, for director Neeraj Pandey, scripts play a key role. He says, “The script ranks the highest and I never start working on a movie before I complete writing it.”
“I am more inclined towards real stories, which I mostly gather from my experiences and from people I meet — I chalk out the most interesting aspects. Take my movie M.S. Dhoni, for instance. The movie depicts his life from the beginning; it also includes what he thinks while playing on the field. I think, that when such stories, which aren’t known to many, are told, it attracts the interest of the audiences. While writing a story, I write it with the audiences’ point of view,” adds Neeraj.
Director Tharun Bhascker, who was applauded for his film Pelli Choopulu, says, “Earlier, the entire form of entertainment was very theatrical. Drama, being the highest form of entertainment, relied heavily on dialogue — they were extremely exaggerated and theatrical and very audacious so that people sitting even in the last row would be able to follow. But now we’re in a social age and we understand each other. We’re sensitive to small things. So entertainment has to reflect that too. It has to be honest. People understand subtleties in content too, because they’re exposed to so much content through YouTube and other forms,” says Tharun.
He adds, “Emotion is universal. Even silent films are popular worldwide because people connect with characters and emotions. And I did the same thing with my story. I didn’t try to go out of the box; instead I was honest about my life and what my understanding of the story was. I related it with the surroundings and characters I was exposed to.”
— With inputs from Lipika Varma and Christopher Isaac...